Narcissists are interested in only one thing in life – deriving narcissistic supply. They care only about themselves and can’t feel many normal-range emotions such as love, empathy, guilt, remorse etc. Nor do they have any sense of responsibility or accountability for their actions.
The breakup of a relationship, even if they instigated it or were the cause of it, poses a variety of problems to the narcissist:
- Loss of supply from the discarded partner;
- The task of securing a new supply, which is doubtless already in place but may as yet be unproven (and if the narc is still in the idealisation phase, then the lovebombig is exhausting – the narc is giving significantly more fuel than they are receiving);
- Their reputation in wider society has taken a battering – as the failure of a relationship is a stigma, regardless of who is deemed to be at fault.
The Rush for Supply
To compensate, there is a mad scramble to derive supply from whatever sources are available to them, and it can take a number of different forms:
- Breakup-related sympathy from friends, family, enablers and flying monkeys – and they are expert at playing the victim card. Narcs know that the worse the picture painted of the ex, the more sympathy they can garner. This is where the crazy-making of late plays such an important role now – they have in the past wound up their victims to explode publicly in order to give them the grains of truth required to embellish their lies now. Their ex’s are condemned as being crazy and abusive, and whatever is deemed to have happened behind closed doors is difficult for the victim to prove or disprove.
- Accolade and applause from acquaintances on the triumph of securing a new supply so quickly (wow, your new partner is so good-looking/wonderful etc, aren’t you brave getting over the devastation of the breakup so quickly, you are so attractive as to pull so quickly etc etc.).
- Manipulation of anything and everything, including kids. If joint children are involved, expect them to be brainwashed and psychologically abused into falling in line with the narc who then alienates them against the victim. As the kids getting sucked in to be used as pawns against their normal-range parent, so the sense of control and power that the narc is able wield provides fuel in abundance, as is that derived from the pain they are able to inflict and witness on the targeted parent as they are cut free, cast off and isolated from the family.
- Control over assets. Partners invariably have assets in common as part of the relationship. On breakup it is common for the narc to exert control and chaos over anything that can be used to make life difficult for the ex. Joint bank accounts, the house, cars, pets, belongings etc – anything that can be controlled and used as a weapon against the ex will be, because doing so reassures the narc that they are strong, powerful, significant and omnipotent.
- Squeezing the last drops out of the ex. Even after discard, and apparently blissfully happy with the new love of their lives, the narcissist will still seek to wring out every last drop of supply they can from their ex. Unfettered by the guilt, the remorse, the remnants of love and care, the respect and kindness towards an discarded ex that a normal-range person would feel, it is vital to the narc to see their ex destroyed. Baffling, horrific and devastating to the ex, and incomprehensible to wider society, there are some compelling reasons that spur the narc to launch an insidious and toxic smear campaign:
- Narcs like seeing the devastation that they can cause. In the twisted and labile mind of the narc, all this reassures them of their supremacy.
- It gives them a kick getting a reaction out of their wounded victims as they stick the various knives in. Appealing to their sadistic side, seeing such pain gives them narcissistic fuel – albeit of the negative variety
- The collapse of the ex reassures the narc (and wider society) that the problem was never themselves, but their ex whom they have been carrying throughout the duration of the relationship.
- By isolating and undermining their ex, that ensure that the ex has neither the credibility of the audience to expose the narc for who they really are.
- By demonstrating to society that the ex is unworthy, so they are sending the same message to their children in common. This weakens the bond between kids and targeted parents, and strengthens that with the alienating parent. With Parental Alienation achieved, the narc can now operate with impunity in deriving fuel from the kids in whatever they manner choose, and that their period of control is extended indefinitely.
Whilst all of the above is providing them with fuel, it is also aimed at seeing off one of their worst fears – that their discarded ex recovers from the experience and goes on to find happiness and success.
This drives them nuts as it informs them of their insignificance, powerlessness as well as indicating to them that the problem was them all along. This in turn gets them dangerously close to their very worst fear – confronting their real self.
More ominous, however, is their determination to silence a potential whistle-blower – a witness to their abuse, and someone who probably has devastating evidence of it. It is all too common to hear victims of narcissistic abuse report how intent their abuser is on forcing them in to suicide. At present the reporting of such stories is poor, and it appears that no-one is prepared to make the connection between such a story and narcissistic abuse – although any survivor will be able to see many parallels in such news reports.
Countering the Toxicity – Winning the Hearts and Minds
Combating this assault, and the smear campaign that goes with it, is a challenge.
My advice is to get out there soonest and ensure that their falsehoods do not prevail. Be very wary of simply countering the lies with the truth however – do this and a sense of “he says, she says” takes over, and people just get frustrated and angry. You both end up looking bad. Instead coax their understanding of events our of people, and where you come across a lie, ensure that the sow seeds of doubt with questions like “What makes you think that that is true”, “Is that consistent with your first-hand understanding of me”, “And what would you suggest the other side of the story might be?” etc.
It’s a long process, but your aim shouldn’t be to counter every lie with the truth, but to sow doubt in the minds of third parties as to the truthfulness of the narc. People don’t like be taken advantage of nor lied to – and you should be able to create a degree of wariness and mistrust so that your narc reveals, and sinks, their true self by themselves. You, meanwhile, need to concentrate on creating a reputation on being the decent, upstanding, calm and rational one.
Psychological Murder: Death by Covert Abuse | Owlcation
The Disturbing Link between Narcissism and Sadism | Psychology Today
Why Narcissists can be so Jealous, Competitive and Mean | Psychology Today
The Narcissist after the Breakup | The Narcissistic Life